The U.N. this month begins negotiations on what will be the first legally binding global treaty that seeks to regulate the international arms trade while trying to prevent the transfer of weapons to armed groups and terrorists. The participation of the United States in talks with foreign nations on regulation that could affect American gun rights has some gun-owners in the states concerned. Proponents of the treaty, including the Obama administration, say it has no standing on domestic policy. Critics argue that the wording is expected to be so vague that it will allow some pretty big loopholes that would eventually lead to the infringement of Second Amendment rights.
In response to a letter sent to the president last week from over 100 lawmakers expressing opposition to the pending treaty if it impinges on gun rights and U.S. sovereignty in any way, The Hill reports Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller has released a list of “redlines” that the administration has established for the treaty:
• The Second Amendment to the Constitution must be upheld.
• There will be no restrictions on civilian possession or trade of firearms otherwise permitted by law or protected by the U.S. Constitution.
• There will be no dilution or diminishing of sovereign control over issues involving the private acquisition, ownership, or possession of firearms, which must remain matters of domestic law.
• The U.S. will oppose provisions inconsistent with existing U.S. law or that would unduly interfere with our ability to import, export, or transfer arms in support of our national security and foreign policy interests.
• The international arms trade is a legitimate commercial activity, and otherwise lawful commercial trade in arms must not be unduly hindered.
• There will be no requirement for reporting on or marking and tracing of ammunition or explosives.
• There will be no lowering of current international standards.
• Existing nonproliferation and export control regimes must not be undermined.
• The ATT negotiations must have consensus decision making to allow us to protect U.S. equities.
• There will be no mandate for an international body to enforce an ATT.
The Washington Times editorial board expressed Thursday their worries about the upcoming negotiations:
The recent Obamacare debate over the Constitution’s Commerce Clause highlighted that goods and services need not actually cross state lines to be considered “interstate.” Successive Supreme Court rulings have extended the term to any commerce that even indirectly affects interstate markets - which in practice means all commerce. A ratified treaty, with constitutional authority, could be interpreted in a way that any weapon made with foreign components - or that might some day be exported, or that affects the overall arms market - could be said to be part of “international” trade.
There is also concern that human rights language could act as an impediment to arms sales that would otherwise be considered legal – for example, if the U.S. sold arms to Israel, other arab nations could object on “humanitarian grounds”, etc.
Negotiations, which Iran are a part of, are expected to conclude by the end of the month – should a deal be reached, it would need to be ratified by the Senate – which is now in the control of the Democrats. The treaty has been debated as a potentially serious measure to slowdown violence in rouge nations, but the outcome of the negotiations could at the same time have implications on U.S. elections this November and longstanding frustrations from Americans towards U.N. policy.
On "Real News" Monday the panel discussed whether this is a serious proposal to address a legitimate problem, and if Second Amendment supporters should be alarmed that the administration supporting this treaty has often found itself at odds with American gun-owners. Watch a clip from Monday's show below: